Directed by: Jeannot Szwarc
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Written by Nick McCann
“Jaws” was a cinematic game-changer. The invention of the summer blockbuster, Steven Spielberg becoming an instantly famous visionary, and putting the fear of sharks into everyone’s hearts are just a few pieces of what makes up such an incredible package. So how do you follow that up? By slapping a 2 on it! Admittedly there wasn’t a lot to go off of after that first story, but boy did the film crew try anyway. For what it’s worth, they attempted something worthwhile and it isn’t half bad.
Once again, Amity Island comes under siege from a rogue great white shark. Although Spielberg isn’t at the helm, director Jeannot Szwarc and returning writer Carl Gottlieb do a fine job showing how the first movie left a lingering mark for the most part. Of course, it doesn’t have as much suspenseful direction or engaging material, repeating old hat more often than not. Yet the film moves at a decent pace and always tries to find a way to keep it interesting. It leans more into the action and B-movie conventions here than before. Regardless, “Jaws 2” retains some of the fun nautical adventure and gives you more shark action.
Roy Schieder also returns as Chief Brody, still in good form as a guy who went through hell and has to carry on. The brief delving into his mood is a highlight of the film and occasionally there are a couple of enjoyable Brody moments. Lorraine Gary and Murray Hamilton also show up in fine form, without much more to add into the story. The rest of the cast do fine enough jobs. Although none stand out like the other side characters from the first movie. The young cast especially serve as little more than scream machines and belligerent messes.
There’s more action this time around. It’s all well filmed, competently put together, and sets up plenty more opportunities for the shark to raise hell. From one character’s race to swim aboard or high-speed stalking of a water skier, there are certainly highlights in many places. Suspense largely gets traded out for seeing the shark more. Although sporting a gnarly burn scar, the animatronic doesn’t quite have the believability of the first movie. But with John Williams back on scoring duty, the music still shoots in a dose of fun and excitement. Not to mention that classic theme tune that’ll never get old.
The whole movie admittedly feels like a safe play on part of the filmmakers. You see more of the shark and the storytelling is kept straightforward. In that regard, “Jaws 2” does as fine a job following up a runaway hit as it can. Nothing tops even the littlest scene in the first movie, but it’s still an entertaining ride through Schieder’s performance, Williams’ music, and the various set pieces.
“Jaws 2” Trailer
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